There is a group of individuals in this country who ardently believe in a crackpot theory, a theory that if proven true would shake this presidential election to its core. Even in the face of an overwhelming wave of evidence that soundly contradicts their claim, they remain resolute in their conviction, undeterred by any well-grounded facts or presented documentation. They do so because their belief in this claim is based not on rational argument but rather on a deep hatred of the associated presidential candidate and what he stands for.
Nope, not the birthers; I am talking about a new breed of slanderers that I hereby brand “the taxers”. While the birthers repeatedly and wrongly assert that President Obama was not born in the United States and is therefore ineligible to be president, despite his Hawaiian birth certificate being made public, the taxers claim that Republican opponent Mitt Romney has cheated on or evaded taxes in recent years.
Per his promise, Romney has released two full years of federal tax returns; in 2010 he paid a 14 percent tax rate on an income of $21.7 million, and in 2011 he paid a 14.1 percent tax rate on an income of $13.7 million.
Along with the 2011 return, Romney released an official document from his financial management company PricewaterhouseCoopers providing details on his tax history over the past 20 years; several key pieces of information included are that “there were no years during the period” where Romney paid no taxes, the lowest rate Romney paid was 13.66 percent, and the average rate over the two decade period was 20.20 percent.
However, even the release of such a (pardon the pun) wealth of tax information has not satisfied his critics, most notable among them Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Recently, Reid made the most inappropriate claim by a sitting Senator since Joe McCarthy declared that he had a “list of 205” by repeating a statement made by a person at Bain Capital that “[Romney] didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years”. That’s right, a person. No political integrity, no source, not a grain of respect for Mr. Romney (Reid went even further to submit that Romney’s deceased father “must be so embarrassed about his son”).
Even after the 20 year summary was released, Reid chose to further solidify his role as the leader of the taxers by criticizing Romney’s choice to leave some charitable deductions un-deducted so his rate would remain above 13 percent per his previous promise. In other words, Reid is criticizing Romney for keeping his word to the American people and for paying more to the federal government than he technically was obliged to. Bravo, Mr. Reid. Bravo.
The taxer conspiracists refuse to give up their false claims because they simply hate Mitt Romney and his wealth, just as the birthers are racists that hate Barack Obama and the fact that he is black. The president himself launched a sharp rebuke when Romney made a humorous reference to the birthers, which is something the president proceeded to do himself only days later (frankly, the insanity of birtherism is comedic gold, even for candidates). But the president and leading Democrats openly engage in the same tactics and witch-hunting the birthers employ. Just as the birthers were not satisfied with Obama’s long-form birth certificate, the taxers would not be satisfied even if Romney released 30 years worth of returns; they don’t want voters to be well-informed, they just want Mitt Romney to lose. And if the taxers’ worst nightmare were to come true, that the next president might be more of a millionaire than Barack Obama is, then expect their irrational ravings to only intensify.